Missing from the brochures

Lurking everywhere in Florida–black vultures. March 2010.

One thing the Florida travel brochures seem to forget to mention? How you and your car will be inundated by flocks of vultures. Everglades National Park in particular has signs warning about damage to your car. (I think part of it is their fondness for the rubber on the car wipe blades.) My wife’s in Florida right now. Maybe they’re leaving her and her group alone? (And in actuality, they’re getting to be more of nuisance throughout the southeast part of the US.)


Bogue Sound, North Carolina. November 2019.
Some comb beaches
pocketing striking shells,
attempting time's arrest.
I, rather, snatch sun's
rays from morning and 
evening skies, saving
moments too fleeting for
memory--tweaking my 
specimens to resemble
what my minds-eye says
actually occurred.
Bogue Sound, North Carolina. November 2019.

Smoke in the Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, western slope. May 2004.

At the beginning of May 2004, we headed to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, primarily to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve searched in vain for a photo taken around that time near our home in Grafton, New York, where Spring still fought Winter’s grip on our weather. Two days later we entered Spring’s glory, Smoky Mountains-style. I’ve posted other photos (here and here) which display the explosion of green we encountered. I said to my wife as we drove through undergrowth with leaves as large as my hand–some kind of berry, I suspect–and kept an eye out for black bears newly emerged for the Spring, “You know, I think I could live here.” Two winters later, as I cursed the snows again, an opportunity beckoned to test that conjecture, and I took it. North Carolina pleased us even more than Tennessee. Recently, I’ve posted several photos from that time because late January reminds me of the move, and the approach of Spring always makes me thankful I get to experience a long, lingering one here below the Mason-Dixon Line. I’m thinkin’ I need to put on my travelin’ shoes again…


California quail in a white pine. Spokane, Washington, November 2019.

My mother loved the quail which started to appear in the backyard years after I had left home for good. I’ve never bothered to find out why deer and quail became so common in the past few decades. Loss of habitat as the city limits pushed further out? Seems backwards. Regardless, appear they did, more and more, until coveys could be observed daily running through the backyard, spring through fall. Smaller groups appeared in the winter. My mother just loved them. She purchased a small wooden carving of one.

My wife, Philadelphia-born and -bred, also loves quail. A city girl, any game bird interests her, but the cuteness and the comical mating calls of the males in spring really grabbed her fancy and held on.

When my mother died in the fall of 2019, and we settled out the belongings, I took a quiet satisfaction when she opted to snag the little wooden quail and place it on our mantel at home.

California quail, Spokane, Washington. January 2020.